The recruiting momentum for Texas keeps on churning, and so do we. With the addition of Cade Brewer and Reese Leitao (after some hiccups) in the 2017 class, Tom Herman is doing his best to restock what has been a thin tight end room since the departure of Jermichael Finley in 2008. He’s off to a good start with the 2018 class with the addition of Dekaney tight end Malcolm Epps.
When you look at Epps on paper, he doesn’t seem all that impressive. He’s 6’6” with a 5.02 40-yard dash and a 24’ vertical. Not great for a big bodied tight end. It’s important to remember, however, that numbers sometimes fail to tell the full story. Epps is a matchup nightmare on the football field, and it certainly shows on tape. There’s a reason Epps is the No. 4 ranked tight end in the country, with offers from the likes of Alabama, Texas, and Florida State. With Epps adding much needed depth to the TE room, what does the tape say about his ability to produce on the field?
Epps’ numbers do tell one aspect of his skill set: he is raw. At 218 pounds, he needs to add weight to grow into his frame. He’s raw as a blocker and will never blow by a defender. Those are things that can be worked around and even improved, in some cases. The two things Epps has that cannot be taught is size and ball skills. Epps is a gifted pass catcher that has soft hands. In his film, he made some extremely difficult catches as well as all of the routine ones. Texas fans should be excited just imagining Epps lined up for the corner fade route in the end zone. He is going to create tons of mismatch problems for Big 12 defenses.
Although raw as a player, Epps can only get better. He grow more into his frame after an offseason spent with Yancy McKnight and even likely become a bit faster off the ball. His time spent as a basketball player will likely help him become a better tight end as well, assisting him with getting to the ball at the highest level. Although many say “numbers never lie,” they do in this case. Malcolm Epps is a raw, but talented tight end that Tom Herman and Corby Meekins should be excited about. If he gets on campus and taps into his full potential, the sky is the limit.
The addition of Malcolm Epps adds more depth and competition to a recently replenished tight end room. Although he is a work in progress at the position, Epps’ measurables and ball skills leaves plenty of room for excitement. It’s also important to note that Epps has been offered a scholarship by Shaka Smart as well, which could impact his decision. As a two-way player in football/basketball, he will certainly carry over some things from the court that will help him on the field, and vice versa. Overall, Texas fans should be excited about the addition of Malcolm Epps. I don’t want to jump the gun, but Epps reminds me a lot of Jimmy Graham – only a bit less athletic. If he can play even remotely at the type of level Graham does, Texas may have their first true TE since 2008.